The Politics of Perpetuation: Trajan's Column and the Art of Commemoration

@article{Davies1997ThePO,
  title={The Politics of Perpetuation: Trajan's Column and the Art of Commemoration},
  author={Penelope J. E. Davies},
  journal={American Journal of Archaeology},
  year={1997},
  volume={101},
  pages={41 - 65}
}
  • P. Davies
  • Published 1 January 1997
  • History
  • American Journal of Archaeology
The frieze on Trajan's Column has long been criticized for requiring the visitor to circumambulate the column to read it. By considering the Column within the context of Roman funerary monuments, I argue that the frieze's spiraling motion was designed to manipulate the viewer into a reenactment of ancient funerary ritual as it is described in literary sources. Furthermore, the Column functioned as a viewing station; the helical staircase inside its shaft cast the visitor into disorienting… 
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